Where No Man Has Gone Before: A History of Apollo Lunar Exploration Missions



Scientific exploration of the moon required close cooperation between two quite different organizations within the space agency. Space science was an active field of research when NASA was created, with a well-organized constituency and established procedures for generating and developing experiments. The Office of Space Sciences, which managed these projects, relied heavily on scientists outside the agency for advice on policy and regarded itself as an operational arm of the nation's scientific community, providing opportunities for that community to conduct the research it deemed important. The Office of Manned Space Flight, on the other hand, had no interested constituency outside of the space agency. Having been handed their primary assignment by the President in 1961, engineers of the manned space flight organization reported to the NASA Administrator and to Congress on the progress of their projects.

To get these two offices working together on exploration of the moon was not simple. Starting in 1962, Homer Newell, director of the Office of Space Sciences, began to lay the organizational foundations on which eventual collaboration would be built. The Office of Manned Space Flight, feeling the pressure of the Apollo deadline, was at first reluctant to spend much time preparing for science. By the end of 1963, however, much of the preliminary work had been done and the broad outlines of a lunar science program were taking shape.